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Gender Identity Explored in Award-Winning Photos-Documentary on Transsexuals
by Karin Tobiason
Tuesday Jun 20th, 2006 7:20 PM
Award-winning Bay Area documentary photographer Jana Marcus’ work Transfigurations, on the transsexual community exploring gender identities, will be showing at Good Vibration’s Gallery on Polk Street. Artist reception on July 10, 2006 at 7:30 pm, free to the public.
Gender Identity Explored in Award-Winning Photos
Ground-breaking photo-documentary on transsexuals

San Francisco, CA — Award-winning Bay Area documentary photographer Jana Marcus’ work Transfigurations, a powerful, beautiful, groundbreaking photographic series on the transsexual community exploring gender identities, will be showing at Good Vibration’s Gallery on Polk Street. The public is invited to join us for wine and hors d oeuvres, view the collection and meet the artist at the reception on Monday, July 10, 2006 from 7:30-9:30 pm. The event is free. The exhibit will hang from July 10 through August 21, 2006 as part of the exhibit’s US tour and will include pieces from the original work, The Making of a Man and the new work, The Making of a Woman. Marcus’ photographs focus on what it means to be a man and a woman, by people who have changed genders, blurring the line of gender separation and stereotyping.

What: Transfigurations, a photo-documentary by Jana Marcus.

Where: Good Vibrations, 1620 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA.

Artist Reception: July 10, 2006 at 7:30 - 9:30pm (free to the public)

Contact: 415-345-0400 for more information

Jana Marcus started the photo-documentary Transfigurations in 2003, after a young man rented a room in her home while he was attending the local university. He lived with Marcus for over 6 months when, to her surprise, he shared that he had been a woman five years earlier. He had physically transitioned to a man, there had been no question in Jana’s mind that he was a man.

Marcus remembers “ I had never met a transgender man before, and I realized this was a secret, mysterious world of transformation not often talked about—and certainly not noticed--- in everyday society. Transgender men “pass” in our society and because of this we are unaware that they are present in our culture. More and more curious, I set out to explore the world of transgender men with my camera.”

Transfigurations explores transsexuals and their notions of masculinity and femininity as they change gender identities. “I discovered that gender is both real and illusory, natural and constructed," Marcus comments. "By capturing the physical and mental transformation from one sex/gender to another, the photos reveal the importance of the body to gender identity, as well as the effects of transformative practices on the body, which creates a reality beyond ordinary experience.”

Over the past decade there has been heightened public awareness of transgender issues. With the increased visibility of transgender persons also comes an increase in discrimination and violence directed at transgender and others who are non-traditionally gendered. In spite of this, the transgender community is emerging into its own place in history, as a new movement, expanding the language of gender and sex.

Photo District News of New York awarded the prestigious Best Photos of The Year 2004 and 2005 to Marcus’ Transfigurations photos. It was also included in The International Photography Awards 2005, the Phelan Art Award 2005, the Excellence in Photography Award 2005 from San Jose State's School of Art & Design, and The Center for Photographic Arts Awards 2004, and recently the Good Times Critic's Choice for Best Art Exhibit of 2006. For more information visit

To set up an interview with artist Jana Marcus or a Trans-spokesperson about the photo-documentary, or obtain collection jpegs, artist bio & resume, kindly contact Karin Tobiason at 415-332-4207 or ktobiason [at] .

About Good Vibrations
Good Vibrations is the San Francisco-based retailer trusted for nearly three decades to provide a comfortable, safe environment for finding sex-positive products and educational materials to enhance one’s sex life. Good Vibrations offers its products through its retail stores, mail order catalog and on its ecommerce web site at